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Part of me can’t help but blame regulators for this mess. There are so many obstacles to entry in the domestic carrier industry. And when one airline seems to get a foothold, they’re quickly squashed by the competition, either as a result of predetermined hubs and flights or because the sector is both cash and capital intensive. What results is the opposite - major mergers of airlines that threaten to consolidate power (and oligopolistic behavior) even further. Or worse, bankruptcies that let carriers restructure and return, with even less incentive to cater to customers.

Maybe I’m just complaining. I haven’t really offered statistics or any economic models to support my claims. But do I really need to? I still take flights that make a refugee camp look like Club Med in terms of seating. I still have to pay resort-style prices for quickie-mart quality food. And I still feel like I’m taken to the cleaners every time I purchase a ticket to a destination that requires me to actually carry a change of clothes.

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